Final Days

During her last years Louisa, ever open-minded and hoping to improve her health, explored homeopathy and mind cure as well as conventional medicine of the day. In 1888 she went to a convalescent home in Roxbury, expecting that with rest she would live another 20 years.

At the beginning of March she visited Bronson, knowing he was near death and that she was seeing him for the last time. “Father,” she said, “Here is your Louy. What are you thinking of as you lie there so happily?” He pointed toward Heaven and answered, “I am going up. Come with me.”

“Oh, I wish I could,” she said.

Bronson Alcott died a few days later, on March 4, 1888. He was as old as the century. Louisa, born on her father’s birthday, died just two days after he did, at the age of 55. By her bedside were her pen – she was writing a story – and her needle, threaded in red, on a flannel dress she was making for a poor family’s baby.

Louisa May Alcott is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery across the foot of her parents’ graves, fulfilling her wish “to support them in death and life.” Close by are the resting places of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Elizabeth Alcott. An inconspicuous marker, set flat on the ground, reads only “Louisa M. Alcott.” Next to it a small American flag flies in honor of her service in the Civil War.

Back To: Family Mainstay | Beginning: Alcott’s Life